In an inter-religious service organized by the Vatican, the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit stressed the importance of “expressions for peace and the mutual respect for the dignity of the other.”
“Praying together, we remind each other that God’s gift of life is given to all of creation and that justice and peace are God’s will for everyone,” said Tveit.
The service was held on Jan. 21 at the chapel of the Ecumenical Center in Geneva, where the WCC has its offices.
Coordinated by the Holy See, the service was a follow up to the World Day of Peace, celebrated by Roman Catholic Church on Jan. 1 around the world.
The service took place during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which is celebrated from Jan. 18-25. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is jointly coordinated by the WCC’s Faith and Order Commission and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity of the Roman Catholic Church.
“In God, we are one human family, as Pope Benedict XVI underlines in his message for the World Day of Peace,” Tveit said in his message.
“This implies that the aspirations for peace, dignity and justice for all and not just for a few members of our human family become our common challenge and task,” he added.
Tveit highlighted the example of Joseph of Nazareth as a peacemaker for “the way he cared for the newborn child and his mother.” He said that there is a need for more Josephs in the world, who are willing to follow God’s call for peace and justice by taking care of those around them.
The service brought together local leaders from Buddhist, Jewish and Muslim faith communities. Archbishop Monsignor Silvano Tomasi, permanent representative of the Holy See to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, led the prayers.